Pretty Little Liars recap: 'These Boots Were Made For Stalking'
Well, the verdict is in for the second week of this board game conceit… and I still like it! This episode was just bursting with great (and ridiculous, of course) lines, too — even if some characters’ story lines are more serious than others’ right now.
So let’s get into it. We open on the Liars still annoyed at Spencer for playing Liar’s Lament. They’re torn over whether or not Jenna could be behind it, to which I say (a) stop giving Jenna so much credit, but also (b) to Hanna, who asks how Jenna could create a board game when she can’t even tell if her blouse is on inside out: Jenna has never once worn a shirt inside out! There are tags! And seams! You should know this!
The best line from this discussion about how grown up they are now comes from Emily: “I park in the faculty lot now, Hanna.” Yes, we know you wear your big-girl pants, Emily! Although, not sure if that’s for long…
In the locker room at school, Emily and Paige (stupidly) have a loud discussion about how Emily has “intense history” with both Ali and Paige. Since they’re not even trying to keep their voices down, a snotty teen named Addison overhears it all and gets an evil glint in her eye. When Emily confronts her about being there and snooping, Addison is all attitude: “I’m a quiet dresser.” Okay, girl. Emily remarks that she looks fine even though Addison apparently missed swim practice yesterday, and she snidely says, “It was a headache.” Please sic A.D. on this girl immediately. I can’t handle her.
Ali isn’t a fan either: “At least when I threatened adults, I looked up from my phone,” she tells Emily. (I laughed out loud at that one.) Working with mean teens isn’t making her any more excited for her own baby, either. “What if I have one like her?” she asks. Ironic, because Addison is basically Ali 2.0 — right down to the name just substituting D’s for L’s. (Don’t think I didn’t notice A.D. could somehow be a nickname for “Addison” — but it would be ridiculous and a huge cop-out for A.D. to be a new face… plus Addison was probably like 7 years old when the first A stuff started happening.)
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Meanwhile, Mona checks in with Hanna about dressing the senator’s daughter. Apparently Mona pulled some unapproved stuff from Hanna’s closet, and the girl has her eye on a black high-neck tutu dress that is OFF LIMITS, according to Hanna. Turns out it’s because her old fashion boss, Claudia, had ripped it to shreds (verbally), and Hanna’s insecure about it. Mona tries to convince her it’s fine by saying, “No masterpiece is ever complete. If someone hadn’t pulled the Mona Lisa off Da Vinci’s easel he would have given her a perm.” It’s so stupid it’s kind of brilliant. (I feel like there’s a Mona/Mona joke here that isn’t coming. Someone else make one.) Later, Caleb tries to convince her it’s fine, too, but Hanna is stuck on the issue.
Spencer, understandably, is still stuck on her own issue — the whole “being Mary Drake’s kid” thing. Veronica Hastings keeps trying to smooth everything over, but Spencer isn’t ready for that. She’s focused on the dark irony of her checking into Radley as a patient years ago not knowing it was the place she was born. One silver lining: At least Melissa was also in the dark about Spencer’s true parentage.
Later, Spencer gets a visit from Hot Detective Marco Furey (he wears a tank top: “I didn’t come here as a police officer. I thought the shorts would have been a giveaway”), and she shows him the letter from Mary Drake. He agrees to make finding her a priority.
Stupid Addison is arranging her priorities, too: She spies on Ali and Emily, and, in true Baby A fashion, takes photos of their more-than-friendly interaction (no smooching, just hair-smoothing). Of all people, Addison takes this information to Paige… and adds a little flair of her own. She tells Paige Emily has been making her uncomfortable — staring at her, being inappropriate, touching other swimmers on the thigh. Paige is skeptical but appears to take it seriously (at least to Addison). Then the icing on the cake: She shows her the photos she took of Emily and Ali. “I’m not saying she’s a predator, but she’s definitely way over the line.” What is your deal, child?!!?! Paige asks Addison to forward the photos to her and says she’ll sort it out instead of Addison going to the principal.
Aria is still sort of planning her wedding, though her groom is nowhere to be found. Well, actually, he is somewhere: in New York, in the “small apartment” Nicole’s parents got for him. ARIA. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? I know they’re meant to be, blah, blah, but I wouldn’t want to marry someone who was keeping me on a string like that while spending all this time with his ex. Let’s clarify that “ex,” by the way — at the beginning of the episode, Aria runs into a reporter who wants to talk to Ezra for a story: “Local author reunited with fiancée.” Oh… were Ezra and Nicole engaged before she disappeared? This is getting more and more complicated…
She goes to Holden’s office/kitchen later to start planning the menu for her wedding, and then an alert shows up on her phone: The reporter has written the article about Ezra and Nicole after all, and there are tons of smiley photos to go along with it. I’ve been growing lukewarm on Ezra since the whole “I was writing a book and thus actually knew you were in high school when we made out” thing — but now I’m extra pissed. Aria does not deserve this!
Over at the police station, Marco is telling Spencer that Mary Drake might have signed into a motel, but their conversation gets interrupted by the telltale tapping of Jenna’s cane. At first it seems like Spencer is going to get scoop because Jenna might think Marco is alone, but… turns out Jenna can recognize Spencer’s breathing. Good lord. She tells a whole sob story about Noel and how he was going to kill her just like he killed Sara Harvey, but that she’d gone along with his plan and said all those things at the scary house because (a) she was worried about her life, and (b) he told her Charlotte left her money for another eye surgery. Spencer doesn’t buy any of it, but Marco interrupts Spencer’s retort to send Jenna to a conference room. When she’s gone, he tells Spencer they don’t have enough on Jenna to charge her… unless there’s something Spencer isn’t telling him. Oh boy, where do we start?
Spencer talks to Aria afterward (she tells her Jenna “has balls the size of church bells” — uh, ew?) and says it was hard not to tell Marco about the game, and that one of the reasons she wants to find Mary Drake now is to forgive her. When she goes home again to Veronica — whom she clearly still hasn’t forgiven — Veronica says they’re selling the house, and Spencer doesn’t seem to care. It doesn’t feel like her home anymore, she says. Veronica gets upset and makes a speech about how it’s where they lived as a family, a family she “tried to hold together through all the crap life threw at me.” Veronica, wake up!! “Life” didn’t throw that crap at you! Your gross, cheating husband is literally the only person to blame!
Meanwhile, Jenna has been making appearances all over town. Emily sees her over at the Brew “with bookends” — a.k.a. a posse of two other blind people. What? Then the Three Blind Mice show up at the Radley — and Hanna notices Jenna is wearing an exact copy of the dress she designed, but in white instead of black. Immediately she and Mona storm up and ask where she got it (she doesn’t answer, obviously). They blame ‘A’ but don’t think of another pretty clear source: Hanna’s evil boss, who had seen the dress in detail before and definitely has the resources to copy it. Not saying there isn’t an A.D./’A’ connection here, but it could also just be plain old horrible Claudia.
Back at school, Paige tells Emily she’ll supervise practice that night so she can take a night off — and not get in Addison’s crosshairs once again. But later, Emily begs Ali for the keys to Spencer’s barn so she can get to the game. She thinks A.D. is breaking her down with Addison to make her admit other things… like how she missed a final exam to get her degree, but A.D. took it for her. (Totally forgot about that one.)
They go to the game, and the phone tells Emily to press “#BENCHME.” Suddenly, security footage from behind The Brew starts playing on the phone, and Emily sees Addison smoking a bong with her boyfriend — at the exact time she had skipped practice for that “headache.” So here A.D. is, helping Emily again. What’s going on?
Emily storms up to Addison and confronts her at school: “If you don’t retract the statements you made…” But Addison gives her attitude. “Maybe you need to use your time more wisely… like for finding a lawyer,” she snarls. I HATE HER. Emily really blows up on her and starts talking about bullies on the school bus and how Emily was a kid on the bus and Addison is the bully — it gets out of hand, but Paige steps in and saves the day. Addison’s dad is in the office: The principal and Addison’s parents were forwarded an email where Addison gloated about getting Emily fired. It’s not clear whether Addison really sent it, but either way, Emily is safe from this little demon — for now. And later, when she passes her faculty mailbox… a puzzle piece is waiting in a plain envelope. At the same moment, she gets a text: “Embrace your dark side, Em. I’ve had to. That’s how you win the game.” Interesting… so the board game doesn’t necessarily hold every envelope and puzzle piece right inside of it, and A.D. still has complete access to everywhere the Liars go (and maybe… a crush on Emily?). Great!
Back to Aria’s situation: When she sees the article, she heads straight to New York (atta girl!) and heads to the clinic where Nicole is staying with a bag of taffy. She’s just missed visiting hours but convinces a nurse to let her in anyway — and right then, Holden appears and tells her not to do it. (Not gonna lie, I thought he was some sort of hallucination at first.) She listens to him, unfortunately, and they go get pizza and discuss the situation. Instead of telling her Ezra needs to get lost, though, he just says they might be on different timelines — she shouldn’t give the ring back just yet. She should keep waiting. Um, I beg to differ: You need to make him have a conversation with you, Aria. No one has to be this understanding!!! Live your life!!!
I thought Hanna’s situation was the least serious at the beginning of the episode — yes, creative theft is horrible, but no one is threatening to tell your employer you’re sexually harassing kids, your fiancé isn’t holed up in New York with his other fiancée, and you didn’t just recently find out your mother was a mental patient and your other mother lied to you your whole life. STILL, Hanna doesn’t get off easy: She and Caleb follow Jenna and crew to the building where Hanna’s cobbler is, and they think maybe Jenna will steal Hanna’s shoes that the senator’s daughter was supposed to wear with the dress, too. Caleb confronts Jenna (still, no answers) after the other two blind people go into the building, and then Hanna sneaks into the cobbler’s office to get her shoes back. Of course it’s dark and spooky and there’s essentially a big cage in it, because this is Pretty Little Liars and every office or factory is creepy and full of potential murder weapons.
The lights flicker, Hanna gets trapped in the cage, and not only do wooden shoe-things start swinging from the ceiling and almost hitting her, but she gets pushed into a spinning machine that scrapes her up, AND a drill comes through the wall behind her and almost gets her in the back. Oh, and it also gives her horrific flashbacks to being trapped in that barn and tortured with the cattle prod, so by the time Caleb bursts in looking for her, she’s too shaken to even say “I’m over here.” Caleb helps her get out, because he is a tech whiz angel.
In the final scene, the Liars are back at Spencer’s, crowded around the board game as Emily sets her puzzle piece into place. With the two pieces in there, Spencer notes that it looks like a map, with a dark area shaped like Rosewood. They wonder if the game wants them to find something… or, someone. Mary Drake? Charlotte’s killer? A.D.?
Am I the only one loving this game? Am I the only one who wanted to see a high school girl we just met get murdered? Is this show turning me into a crazy person? Don’t answer that last one.
Two episodes down, eight to go, Liars…
Four little liars and a being named “A” (who may or may not be the fifth little liar) try to live their lives in Rosewood. It’s complicated.